Monday, January 20, 2014

Bright New Day, Modern Tristan Quilt Part One


I'm pushing out of my comfort zone with my first project in my new studio!  First with fabric choice (I'm a longtime fan of muted, earthy, romantic), and then with technique (a traditional quilter at heart, who loves scrappy, simple patchwork).  I'm going bold and modern!

I have a special baby quilt to make for my friend Barbara's new grand-baby.  His parents are beachy, bold, and modern, and so is my plan for the quilt.  It's the perfect project for improvisational piecing, where I have an overall plan but am willing to go with the flow and adjust as needed.

Additionally, I'm in love with pre-cuts, and the new fabric line 'Acacia' by Tula Pink for Westminster Fabrics, and the bold bundle of Kona solid pre-cuts by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  So I picked a pop color (bright aqua) in a 1 yard cut, and a charm pack of Acacia, as well as one of the Kona solids, and I'm off!!

 My overall plan involves chain piecing alternating solid and print 5" charm squares, and laying them out in rows with longer 5" strips of the aqua.  The aqua will build a central canvas for some more detailed machine quilting designs I've been wanting to try out.  

I laid out the rows with the aqua panels more toward the center of the quilt and the charm squares toward either end of each row.  Then I pinned post it notes with the row order number to the 'top' of each row for ease of assembly.  I found the aqua needed a little help, so I grouped the rows into twos and threes and added 2 1/2" Acacia Jelly Roll strips between them.  As I construct, I'm making sure to offset the charm square seams, so no nesting issues or pressing direction 

I'm still piecing, so I'll add a picture of the quilt top shortly, so you can see what I mean.  But in the meantime, I'm in love with the cheeky colors and perky prints...little raccoon faces peering through purple ferns and the cheerful mix of geometrics and forest elements.

I'm already tossing around ideas for the free motion patterns I will use, and what I love most is the fast and free way the quilt is coming together.  Pre-cuts save SO much time in the planning cutting or measuring in a quilt like this.  And they save in extra fabric and waste as well, since I used up all but two of the print squares, and the solid extras I can save for another project.  In under twenty minutes, I was sewing pieces together and in under two hours, the quilt top was laid out and nearly complete.  

I'll be back with you in a few days with Part Two as I finish the top and square it up to quilt.  In the meantime, push some boundaries of your own.  It's the New Year.  Try something outside the box.  No time like the present!!  ;)

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